I just want to say how proud I am of myself in this moment. I woke up in the middle of the night really thirsty, but knowing that I had already drank all the water in my water bottle. So, I got up and grabbed the cold Lipton iced tea from the mini fridge.

Now, let me tell you, I could not get that thing open. I’m used to more modernly designed caps, the ones that are thinner in order to use less plastic. However, this cap was thick, and the lines going all the way around the outside where one would grip and twist, were rough, and actually hurting my hands to try to open. I tried the method of putting my hand underneath a layer of clothing, and then attempting to open the bottle, but I didn’t find success there either. Yes, I was a little frustrated, but the important thing was that I wasn’t mad at myself for not being able to do it, I was just ticked that it kept hurting me.

Now mind you, this is probably the stage where in my old way of thinking, I would’ve given up. I used to be such a pessimistic thinker, always assuming the worst was going to happen. Thoughts of quitting actually did run through my head, like deciding that essentially it wasn’t worth it and I could live without it. However, I sat there knowing that I didn’t want to give up; I knew I had to actively start thinking positive thoughts.

First, they began with, well I just have to be smarter than the bottle. I need to think of a way to handle this task effectively rather than going in without a plan, expecting things to work out by chance. I was sitting there for a good couple minutes with no real plan of how I was going to make this happen. I kept thinking, and it came to me that maybe the clothing method didn’t quite work because my clothes were too thin… Hey! There’s some sort of hypothesis that we can work with!

So, I get up, and I’m on a mission to look for a thicker article of clothing in my closet to get this darn bottle open. I try a few items, still no success. At this point, because I’m attempting again to open it, I’m remembering the pain it’s causing my fingers. It hurts and while I want to finally succeed, it’s hard to keep pushing, as I know I can only take so much of that pain for a certain period of time. What do I do? I told myself this: I have to believe in myself. This whole time I’ve been thinking that it would be a hard task to accomplish, and I might not even be able to do it at all… I have to change my way of thinking.

Flipping my attitude on my own confidence in my ability, I told myself “you can do this”. I talked it through in my head, “one, two, three, go!” I still didn’t get it at first, but after a couple attempts with pauses for rest in between, I heard something that sounded hopeful. I had cracked it just a little bit, just enough to give me leverage to open it all the way!

I know this whole long story was about something as simple as opening a bottle, but the bottom line is that I did it. I took care of myself when no one else was there to do so, and my biggest accomplishment is not in the bottle-opening itself, but in the fact that I had a mindset of positive thoughts, encouraging myself to believe that I had what it took… which I did! I’ve been saying that college has been changing me, that I’m becoming a different person; but when asked how I knew, up until this point, all I could say was that I felt it. It was this internal feeling that I couldn’t describe where it was coming from, and I couldn’t explain when or how the shift occurred.

Now, I can pin exactly where the change is and why. The change I made was my way of thinking. The thoughts you tell yourself form your own personal reality. If you wake up in the morning dreading the day ahead, and you think it’s going to suck and be miserable… guess what? It probably will be. But if you wake up in the morning and think to yourself, I may have a lot on my plate today, but I have all the capability in the world to handle it, and I’m gonna crush it! You’re going to seize that day. It’s all in the way you portray yourself and your abilities through the thoughts in your own head.

I now know all of this because of my HCOM professor. He has stressed more than anything else in the class how important it is to have a positive mindset and believe in yourself. If you can reshape your way of thinking, you can create a whole new ballgame for yourself. I am eternally grateful for this life lesson I didn’t know I needed, and didn’t think could apply to me. Again, I was such a pessimistic person; I didn’t think I could ever be one of those people that was constantly thinking positive thoughts to myself. Well, I’ve found through this journey of growth, that the first step was (believe it or not) simply flipping the perspective, and actually telling myself I could tackle something for a change.

~ Mallory Hartman

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